Saturday, March 31, 2012

Writer’s View: Hammered by Kevin Hearne

From Goodreads: Thor, the Norse god of thunder, is worse than a blowhard and a bully—he’s ruined countless lives and killed scores of innocents. After centuries, Viking vampire Leif Helgarson is ready to get his vengeance, and he’s asked his friend Atticus O’Sullivan, the last of the Druids, to help take down this Norse nightmare.

One survival strategy has worked for Atticus for more than two thousand years: stay away from the guy with the lightning bolts. But things are heating up in Atticus’s home base of Tempe, Arizona. There’s a vampire turf war brewing, and Russian demon hunters who call themselves the Hammers of God are running rampant. Despite multiple warnings and portents of dire consequences, Atticus and Leif journey to the Norse plain of Asgard, where they team up with a werewolf, a sorcerer, and an army of frost giants for an epic showdown against vicious Valkyries, angry gods, and the hammer-wielding Thunder Thug himself

The Writer’s View:

I love the Iron Druid Chronicles! Hammered, the third book in the series, was my least favorite, but that’s just because a particular favorite character of mine was killed. This is a good reason not to love a book, I think. *grin* It means I’m emotionally invested in the characters. There’s nothing that hooks me more than loveable characters.

I always learn something when I read Hearne’s books, but there was one thing that particularly stood out to me in this one.

No matter how bad things are, they can always get worse . . .

I'm always trying to learn new ways to build tension in stories. Tension is what makes readers want to turn the page and keep reading. I love to see how writers create tension in their works.

Hearne excels at creating tension. Hammered opens with the main character, Atticus O’Sullivan, sneaking into the Norse kingdom to steal an apple of immortality. I’m already on pins and needles, but then he has to take on a dozen Norns—deadly old women who tell the future. Then he attracts the attention of Thor and the Valkyries. And in the midst of trying to elude furious Norse Gods, Atticus also manages to piss off Bacchus.

Like I said, no matter how bad things are, they can always get worse. Hearne piles crisis upon crisis on poor loveable Atticus. I’m left biting my nails, wondering how in the world he is going to get through this . . . and just when things start to look up, Hearne hurls something else at Atticus.

This is a great lesson in tension. The more you have, the better a story is, I think.

Thank goodness the 4th book in the series is coming out next month! I can’t wait to read it. For everyone who has not read the Iron Druid Chronicles, I highly recommend this series.


  1. Oh Camille, you and I are so on the same page. I finished reading this book a while ago but I'm still upset about the ending. I'm in the midst of trying to add the climactic tension to my book but it's not working at all. I think I've sort of given up!

  2. Yay! Awesome review for an awesome book! I might have liked this one the best, but it's so hard for me to pick a favorite one of the IDC series. They all are so awesome. I might favor this one and Hexed just because there is a lot of Leif, but I love all the other characters, too.

    There's so very much tension in Hammered. I could barely read it! But, I mean that in a good way. Two characters died and that made me sad and bewildered, and my favorite got maimed nearly to death, so I was like hating/loving this one. (Kevin told me we'd find out what happened to Leif in book 4, just fyi & if you care.)

    I wish more authors would do reviews like yours on their blogs. I almost feel like they never read just because they never talk about reading. It's always about writing and their own books. It's nice to see what an author is interested in other than their own material, and what they think of it. Why shouldn't you have an opinion? Plus, you just mention what you learned because that's why you read so much.

  3. @ Cathy - thanks, I am so glad you are enjoying my reviews! I have a blast writing them. Having to articulate what I learn actually helps reinforce it, you know?

    I think Hexed might be my fav of IDC so far, though they are all so good. I was sooooo upset when a certain lawyer didn't make it back to Tempe. :(

  4. @ Lan - I was sort of resentful that a certain lawyer isn't going back to Tempe! Then I realized my resentment was a GOOD thing -- it means I was connecting with the characters in IDC!

    Good luck with the ending of your novel! Hang in there, I know it sucks when you're stuck, but hey, slow and steady wins the race. :) That's what I always tell myself.